Episode 16: Living Apart Together
Apparently, it's the latest thing. Who knew?
As we point out in this episode, around 25% of people in a relationship in the UK live apart and we discuss here the relative merits of long-distance relationships. They can be forced onto people by economic circumstance, such as the need to move away for work and such issues, or they can be the result of an active commitment to having separate lives. Older people tend to have less housing pressure and are more often in a position to make this decision. They also tend to be more fixed in their lifestyles and behaviours and often this can lead to tensions within a new relationship
People are different and having a relationship or "being in love" does not necessarily change that fact. Snoring, tidiness, levels of activity, commitment to equal shares of housework are all factors that can lead to tensions within any relationship. Living apart together can be the perfect solution but it requires a high degree of tolerance and understanding on both parts. It may be that the long-distance relationship is also accompanied by a commitment to an open relationship and living in separate houses certainly removes potential flashpoints from that situation.
But how far is long distance? For some it may be the house next door or down the road. For others it may be a different city or even a different continent, but the ability to do this and follow this lifestyle depends to a great extent on individual wealth or social position. It is an expensive option, both physically and emotionally and is perhaps one that must be entered into with honesty and openness about any conflict of interest or disparity. It is also perhaps another area where men have to accept that women are no longer prepared to take over the role of mother to their partners and a room of one's own, as Virginia Woolf put it, may will turn into a house of one's own.
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